More than 2,500 town hall staff were paid over £100,000 last year, research has shown.
Despite the number earning in six figures falling by 11% between 2011 and 2012, 103 councils were still employing more staff on that level than before, the TaxPayers' Alliance said.
It added that one executive was handed almost £600,000.
More top news
The chairman admitted that "we were all wrong" about the resilience of the economy.
In the town of Bethlehem, doctor Mary Ellen DeFranco told ITV News: "I have hope for the first time in a long time."
Freezing and frosty for some of us